Colts 20 – Bengals 16
The Colts’ fourth and final preseason game culminated in a win Thursday night at home against the Cincinnati Bengals, 20-16. Ultimately, the game will in no way be reflective of how the regular season will pan out for the Horseshoe, but it will determine the team’s final regular season roster spots. Players on the cusp of being cut put it all on the line for a chance to make a good last impression on their team’s coaches. This week’s Horseshoe Hero will highlight the players who made the best cases for themselves to earn a roster spot – or at least a spot on the practice squad – due to their Thursday-night performances.
Chandler Harnish, #8, Quaterback
While starting quarterback Andrew Luck threw just two passes, third-string quarterback and fellow rookie Chandler Harnish took the majority of the snaps Thursday night in hopes of convincing the team to keep 3 quarterbacks on the roster. He more than stated a case for himself, leading the Colts from a 10-0 deficit to a 20-14 come-from-behind win. Harnish completed over half of his passes and threw for a game-high 162 yards. He even threw the game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter: a 42-yard score to rookie tight end Dominique Jones.
Harnish, the final pick in this year’s draft and therefore the “Mr. Irrelevant” of 2012, has been surprisingly consistent throughout this preseason. He went a perfect 3-3 in his first outing against St. Louis, and although his performance was sub-par in Pittsburgh against the Steelers’ talented defense, Harnish completed over 63% of his passes at Washington last week. Harnish likely won’t see the field again for a while, but he could solidify his relevancy if an injury ever creates an opportunity for him to play.
Dominique Jones, #46, Tight End
Jones broke several tackles en route to his impressive 42-yard touchdown reception from Harnish. The Colts are set at tight end, but Jones’ play was eye-opening. He could earn himself a spot on special teams or on the practice squad. At the very least, he could catch the eyes of another coach lacking depth at his position and earn himself an opportunity to play elsewhere.
Kris Adams, #7, Wide Receiver
Kris Adams had 55 receiving yards on just two receptions, including a good-looking 32-yard catch. With top receiver Austin Collie still day-to-day with his concussion and far from reliable, the Colts could use some good receivers in the reserves. This helps Adams’ chances just a little.
Running Backs: Deji Karim, #39; Darren Evans, #32
Deji Karim and Darren Evans each had rushing scores. While the Colts are pretty stacked at the running back position, there aren’t many stars in the group. The team will likely be using a combination of different backs in an attempt to get the running game going. Anyone who steps up has a chance to become a go-to rusher.
Moise Fokou, #45, Linebacker
The linebacker position took a hard hit in the preseason with the loss of Patt Angerer. Last night Moise Fokou rose to the occasion, recording a game-high seven tackles and six assists. He even forced a fumble and led to a turnover in favor of the Colts. The Colts need playmakers. Fokou may be sticking around.
Josh Gordy, #25, Defensive Back
Josh Gordy recovered the fumble forced by Fokou, leading to a Colts touchdown drive. He also had two tackles and two assists. Was that enough? He’ll find out today.
Per league rules, the Colts’ final 53-man roster will be set tonight by 9:00 p.m., making today the notorious “Black Friday.” At least 22 men will be cut from the Colts by day’s end, and several new faces could show up to practice tomorrow, because, as the league’s worst team last season, the Colts are pretty much in control of the waiver wire. It’s been a long time coming, but the new-look Colts will be finalized today. That means that the regular season is upon us!
Check back on Monday for the first Horseshoe Hero of the regular season. Until then, you can follow me at @catierae08 for more frequent Colts updates and commentary.
Go Colts! Build the Monster.